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Beginning a Hunting Camp Tradition

October 22, 2010 | by Diane Tipton

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks hunting camp veterans were eager to share their experience with other hunters interested in beginning a hunting-camp tradition. Their suggestions indicate a successful hunting camp is most often one that is uniquely suited to the tastes, energy level, hunting styles and the relationships among the campers/hunters involved.

The Vision

  • Experience helps. Visit the camps of others to help you decide what kind of amenities, shelter and food you would like in your hunting camp and the effort you want to make.
  • Realistic expectations help. An adult camping with a couple of very young hunters should consider the demands on their time and attention and plan accordingly. For example, invite another trustworthy and willing adult to help out, or plan to focus only on the young hunters and do your hunting at a later date.
  • Know the species you want to hunt as it has a lot to do with where, when and how to set up camp.

Finding the Right Hunting Camp Companions

  • Good friends, family members, or groups with other shared interests, make the best hunting camp companions. At minimum do some day hunting together before committing to doing a hunting camp.
  • Camping styles vary from individual to individual. Those with similar styles or who can tolerate differing styles have the best chance at creating an annual hunting camp.
  • Hunting styles vary. The best odds of success lie with hunters who have hunted together in the past and have worked out some of the typical rough spots.
  • Compatible hunting interests are important in finding a hunting spot and a time of year that will provide all participants with a satisfying experience.

Making it Happen

  • Conversation is important during the early planning stages. Talking helps clarify issues of ethics, differing needs for sleep, acceptable financial arrangements, the camp atmosphere each prefers, hunting habits, and interest in sharing what is harvested.
  • Identify a location where you can camp and hunt nearby.
  • Generate a supply list fr om the camp perspective rather than individual perspective to prevent excessive packing and costly duplication.
  • Food and meal preparation can be pot luck or participants can contribute to the cost of the food and share the cooking.
  • Transportation should be arranged in advance and the decision to hunt with OHV's or stock should be addressed early on too.
  • Safety should be part of the plan. Who will you leave your schedule with at home? Who will pack safety items--including a first aid kit and other supplies advisable if any participants have medical issues. Will at least one participant have a cell phone and back up batteries or power sources for all essential devices?
  • Find a trail boss. Arrangements take time and energy to make. One or two people willing and able to "trail boss" the arrangements and assign tasks to other participants help ensure success.